Whether you’d like to admit it or not, Meagan Good is way more than a pretty face. The 29-year-old thespian is done playing the ornamental seductress. She’s chopped the jezebel mane, edited her plans for marriage, stepped her show-biz game up and wants to make hipster mosh music Christians would find dope. Yeah, don’t expect any upcoming back shots from this one.
VIBE caught up with Meagan for details of her new girl group, H.E.L.L.O Girls, what it’s like to be friends with Natalie Nunn and why she has no problem recycling her outfits. —Tracy Garraud
A lot of people were surprised to hear that you’re in a girl group now. I know your sister’s in it as well. How did that come about?
When me and my sisters were kids, I was about 14 or 16, we had been in a singing group together for a long time and I went away to do Eve’s Bayou and she decided to pursue the music route. So my acting career did what it did and then she joined the group Isyss and she did what she did. And then once the group fell apart, she went to another group for a while. I went into a group with the two twins that were in ATL, we were signed with Lil’ Kim’s label.
Oh damn, so this girl group game is far from new to you. What was the name of that last group?
So embarrassing. I was 19. It was 10 years ago. It was called Phyne. It was back in the day when it was kind of okay to have names like that. Our producer was Damon Elliott who did “Love” on Keyshia Cole’s first album. That’s kind of a crazy story because I met Keyshia when she first came from Oakland and was just trying to figure out how to get started with her singing career and I was doing Biker Boyz at the time and I had just dropped out of the group and Damon was very upset with me and I had met Keyshia and I said, “Look this girl’s amazing, you need to work with her, see if you can help her out.” And they got together and did “Love” and five other songs on her first [album]. That’s actually how Keyshia Cole started doing her thing.
Ah, so you had a hand in Keyshia’s beginning?
[Yeah] that’s my girl; I love her to death. So besides that, I still had the music bug, but I wanted to be a very serious actor. I still do. I want the Oscar. But the music thing just kept coming up and then by best friend Amy and her girlfriend Sterling started a kind of punk band and I kept coming to their performances and my sister was doing her solo thing and one day [Sterling] and Amy came to me and said what do you think if we do a band? I thought it was a good idea but was like, “What kind of music will we do?” So we sat down and were like, “Alright our favorite type of music is rock n roll, kind of punkish.” And so we decided to do the band and met up with producer Rob Bolt, who’s done a lot with Fergie, Radiohead, Puddle of Mudd –a lot of great rock bands. He helped us develop a sound.
Are you guys signed with a label or independent at the moment?
At the moment we’re independent. The plan is to have our own label underneath someone else’s label, possibly like Akon or Cee-Lo. Someone who doesn’t just do R&B music, We all have different flares for music. So we want to be with someone who’s on the artsy-fartsy side, but still mainstream.
Are you going to do choreography, too?
We do do a lot of choreography, but if you went to one of our shows, it would be more of a rock show –more like us rocking out. A lot of jumping. A lot of high energy.
Like a Fefe Dobson type thing?
You can say that. Somewhere in the realm of old school Axel Rose mixed with Fefe Dobson, mixed with Beastie Boys, with a hint of Vanity 6.
We know that the name Hello Girls came from a New Edition song, but where the hell does your nickname Cheeba mean?
Cheeba was a cartoon a long time ago. She was an Egyptian-ish, lion-ish queen. And I’m a Leo and I’m very much a Leo by personality, so that’s how that one came up.
I know everyone else has tag names to, is that like a Spice Girls thing?
You can say that. We’re definitely open to Spice Girl status.
Girl groups are notorious for their break ups. What made you want to join one instead of going solo?